During Scandal, The Son Rises
The assured and astute performance of James Murdoch in fielding questions from the Culture, Media and Sport Committee of the House of Commons on Tuesday may have lifted his chances of running the media conglomerate when his father Rupert steps down, analysts observed today (Wednesday). The younger Murdoch, deputy COO of News Corp, repeatedly took over when his father appeared to be groping for words in his response to committee members' questions. "Clearly his father was delegating to him and obviously trusts him to take forward the management of the company," Claire Enders, head of Enders Analysis in London, told Bloomberg News. Until James Murdoch's accomplished appearance before the committee (to be sure, several commentators have accused the committee itself of tossing him softball questions), there had been much speculation that the News Corp board would likely name COO Chase Carey to succeed the 80-year-old Rupert Murdoch when he steps down. And while the younger Murdoch may have impressed News Corp shareholders, the doddering behavior of his father may have dispirited them. "Interviews with several shareholders said Mr. Murdoch didn't come across well," said today's (Wednesday) Wall Street Journal, which is owned by News Corp. It quoted one unnamed "big shareholder" as saying, "It was painful to watch. He seemed like an old man." Another remarked "He did seem a little out-of-touch with operating details." But, Thomas Perkins, an independent member of the News Corp board said, "The board honestly thinks Rupert is a genius and we need him and the company needs him. Our worry is the shareholders at this point."